Be My Enemy were a fresh injection of energy into the UK industrial scene when they first found ears in 2010. Their sound was a blistering mix of punk, rave and metal sorely needed. Now they are back with album number two in the pipeline. John E Smoke thought he’d better corner Phil Barry, also formerly of Cubanate, to find out what the score is.
Good day to you sir! Thanks for having a natter with Rivetheads/Midlands Metalheads. How the heckers are you?
I feel Magnificent. Full of the joys of spring.
“This Is The New Wave” was a right kick up the arse for the UK electronic industrial scene in 2010. It was definitely amongst my favourite albums of that year and it still features in my playlists.Why punish us by making us wait 4 years for a follow up? Our ears need more Be My Enemy! When is “The Enemy Within” due out?
I have written a lot of songs, over 20. I wanted album number 2 to have nothing but killer songs on so I effectively wrote 2 albums, the best will be on the album the rest will be given away or on Eps or singles ,that’s not to say they are rubbish tunes, they just don’t fit the vibe of the album. The album will be out in May, I can’t be sure of the date yet because I’m still mixing it.
So how are you going to top “This Is The New Wave” then?
Well hopefully people will be able to hear that I am improving as a song writer and as a singer. One thing that has improved is that I think I have found my own voice; I’m not uncomfortable with the sound of my own voice now. Musically I feel like I am always learning new things, I’m still growing in that aspect.
What has been called Industrial music hasn’t inspired me for years, actually I thought I was getting old and was missing the point. Happy that there are new bands emerging that are rejecting the Hard House Trance sound and getting back to rawer sounds and also singing/shouting about relevant stuff rather than mindless irrelevant drivel , that after all is what the top 40 is for. The new album title is ‘The Enemy Within’ which is about The Enemy Within looking out, things like Government corruption/spying and The Enemy Within looking In like Self Destructive thoughts and actions.
How do you feel about talking about your days in Cubanate? They were certainly a big influence on my music with the mix of agression, electronics and guitars. Are you still in touch with the other former members?
I don’t mind at all about talking about Cubanate. We had a great time especially in the crazier (in a good way) early days. It’s a shame no one can buy the old albums, it really bugs me to tell the truth. That is the danger of not owning your own masters. It’s not a mistake I aim to repeat so from now on I will release all Be My Enemy albums on my own. I’m in touch with Marc all the time on social media, we are still good mates.
Who are the current members of Be My Enemy?
Live it is Steve Alton on Guitar, Deb Alton on Drums and Keef Baker on Bass. A great bunch to hang out with.
I’ve not had the pleasure of catching you live yet, describe a typical Be My Enemy show, if there is such a thing. Any particularly weird gig experiences?
We haven’t played live much yet, although I would like that to change. Our last gig was at SlimeLight which I really enjoyed, I felt really comfortable on stage. The whole day of a gig is weird. Loads of hanging around, followed by nerves, followed by what feels like 30 seconds on stage then bewilderment confusion and eventually bed once the adrenaline has worn off.
Big festival stage or small sweaty dive, which do you prefer?
Big and sweaty dives would be cool. Some of the most memorable Cubanate gigs where at sweaty dives in front of over the top mental crowds. Well I say they where memorable god knows where or when. It’s a minor regret I have that I was twated most of the time on those tours because I would like to be able to remember more stuff. Big festivals are impersonal I think . You become one act of a conveyer belt of bands but you can reach a lot of people so it works both ways.
“This Is The New Wave” had a companion remix album. How do you feel about the prevalence of remixes on the scene, good thing or a step too far sometimes?
I don’t like them at all really. I don’t have a problem with remixes for singles or EP’s, although the other day I did see a band I like had released a single with 11 remixes of the same song on which made me squirm. My thing with Remix albums is they take away from the original artists work, it cheapens it. What’s the best remix album ever? I can’t think of one I ever listen to often, maybe Broken and Fixed by NIN or the Orbs first album remixed. That’s it for me. It’s just product for products sake. It’s the audio equivalent of a nice mantel piece covered with porcelain toss. Any remixes done for Be My Enemy will be either on singles with exclusives worth having or given away.
I remember seeing a picture on line with you clutching a Roland SH101 quite tenderly. We (Flesh Eating Foundation) have got one of those bad boys along with a few other classics. Are you a classic hardware geek? What other gems have you got or do you want to own?
It’s quite hard to hold a sh101 at arm’s length for very long, we had to photoshop out the sweaty arm pit I got doing that photo. I’ve got a fair bit 101,303,808,909,106. I have been making music for over 25 years so I’ve collected loads of stuff over time. I do like the look and sound of the modular stuff and I don’t own any Oberheim stuff which makes me sad. Hardware is nice but at the end of the day it’s irrelevant, all you need is a laptop really.
Staying firmly on the geeky path, tell us a little about your music making set up, key pieces of hardware and software, what lurks behind the Be My Enemy sound.
My computer is a 1999 G4 mac running Pro Tools on os9. I make music on a computer from another century. My Guitar set up is a Toki Strat through a Marshall JMP1. I stay away from that Chugga Chugga corny Industrial guitar sound as much as possible and play it sloppy and punk as possible to get a groove or I am just sloppy and all over the place and that groove thing is just an excuse.
Stock question time. I insist on asking all my interviewees, what is the first piece of music you remember buying with your own dosh? And what about the most recent? Tell our readers a little about these.
‘Run To The Hills’ by Iron Maiden or ‘The Land of Make Believe’ by Bucks Fizz they both came out in early 1982 I can’t remember which I brought first. My first record that I owned is far cooler, my parents brought me the Doctor Who theme tune as a single in 1975, still got it. The last? At the weekend I brought Black Sabbath ‘Past Lives’ and Led Zeppelin 2.
Heard any good jokes lately or seen anything particularly stupid on line that would put a smile on a Rivetheads face?
I saw a Dave Mustane is Vlad Putin in a wig meme today which made me smile. Peace Sells But Who’s Buying? A song that pretty much much sums up still what’s going on in the world today, sadly.
Thanks again for having a chinwag with us, appreciated. Anything else you’d like to impart to our Rivetheads and Metalheads readers?
Our ‘Party Monster’ single and video is out now and is available from the Be My Enemy Bandcamp store and the album ‘The Enemy Within’ will be out in May.